DE PERE, Wis. - St. Norbert College claimed the Midwest Conference championship outright with a 28-0 win over Lake Forest College at Kolstad Field at Schneider Stadium.
The title is the Green Knights' 13th in 26 years in the MWC, and marks the ninth time in Jim Purtill's 12 seasons as head coach they have won the championship. St. Norbert (7-3, 7-2 MWC) will discover its first-round opponent in the NCAA Division III Playoffs at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14 when the 32-team field in announced.
St. Norbert broke through with 9 minutes 44 seconds remaining in the second quarter when Rob Berger hit Logan Krueger on a 43-yard touchdown off a flea-flicker. The Green Knights built a 14-0 halftime lead when John Weninger's 5-yard touchdown run came 57 seconds before intermission.
The Green Knights' third touchdown came on a bizarre play with 5:41 left in the third quarter. St. Norbert faced a third-and-12 from the Lake Forest 24, and Berger targeted Logan Krueger in the end zone along the right sideline. As Krueger and a pair of Lake Forest defenders went for the ball, they got tangled up and fell to the turf, and the ball was kicked straight up into the air. Nick Wilson corralled the ball on the way down for the touchdown reception.
St. Norbert scored its last touchdown when Berger found Joe Green wide open running down the middle of the field for a 56-yard touchdown with 7:30 left in the game.
The Green Knights' defense pitched their second shutout of the year despite allowing Lake Forest three red-zone opportunities. St. Norbert stopped Lake Forest on downs at the Green Knights' 9-yard line on the game's opening possession, and a Dan Sjoquist interception stymied the next drive.
St. Norbert outgained Lake Forest 469-223 in total offense, and netted 271 yards on the ground on 44 attempts for a 6.2 average per carry. Weninger bruised his way to 149 yards on 25 carries, while Berger had 13 carries for 95 yards. Joe Green caught five passes for 94 yards.
Berger completed 11 of 17 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns and one interception. Berger's 25 touchdown passes this season is a career high.
Brock Stenberg led Lake Forest offensively with 119 yards rushing on 17 carries. Pete Scaffidi completed 18 of 32 passes for 104 yards and three interceptions.
St. Norbert punted just once in the game, its only punt in the last two games combined.